Hamlet – The Lost Ending

Recently, an old, dusty volume of Shakespeare’s works was discovered by an antique manuscript dealer in London. Besides containing his fabled Love’s Labour’s Won, the tome also featured two versions of bard’s magnum opus, Hamlet. The first text was found to be virtually identical to the Second Folio‘s. In the other text, the final portion of the play was considerably different. This was the play as it was originally written. Here is presented the finale of Hamlet as Shakespeare first intended, starting in Act V, Scene II, after Queen Gertrude’s death:

Hamlet
O villany! Ho! let the door be lock’d:
Treachery! Seek it out.
Laertes
It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good;
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom’d: the foul practise
Hath turn’d itself on me lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: thy mother’s poison’d:
I can no more: the king, the king’s to blame.
Hamlet
The point!–envenom’d too!
Then, venom, to thy work.

Stabs KING CLAUDIUS

All
Treason! treason!
King Claudius
O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
Hamlet
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.

KING CLAUDIUS dies

Laertes
He is justly served;
It is a poison temper’d by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.

Dies

Hamlet

If only there was an antidote to this foul

Venom, I would not feel the sting of death!

Enter OPHELIA with antidote

Ophelia

Hamlet! Catch!

Tosses antidote. HAMLET catches and drinks

Hamlet

Ophelia! I thought you were dead!

Ophelia

That’s what Fortinbras wanted you to think. His henchmen kidnapped me and threw a look-alike dummy into the water to fool you. Luckily, I was able to pick the lock of my cell with a hairpin when the guard wasn’t looking.

Hamlet

So Fortinbras was behind all this. I should have known!

Ophelia

We’d better be careful. Fortinbras’ll be here any minute.

Giant hole blown in wall. Enter FORTINBRAS

Fortinbras

Ah, Ophelia and Hamlet together again. Isn’t that sweet…

Hamlet

Stay out of this, Fortinbras.

Fortinbras

What are you going to do, Hamlet? We all know that your tragic flaw is the inability to take action.

Hamlet

Is that right? Well, when you get to Hell, tell ’em Hamlet sent ya.

Throws poisoned sword through FORTINBRAS’ skull

Fortinbras

Alas! I am slain!

Dies

Ophelia

I love you, Hamlet!

They kiss. CROWD cheers

Exeunt

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~ by norealname on May 5, 2008.

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